Road safety top focus as trucking delegation meets with Minister

Media Release

DC102/2016

01 September 2016

Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester says too many truck drivers are dying on Australia's roads despite the heavy vehicle industry's improved safety record, and he is committed to working with operators to reduce road trauma.

Trucking industry representatives discussed ways to save lives and improve productivity in a meeting with the Minister in Canberra this week.

The high level delegation of Australian Trucking Association members was in Canberra for TruckWeek 2016 to meet with political leaders and raise awareness about the importance of the heavy vehicle industry to the nation's economy.

Mr Chester said the meeting covered a range of topics, including heavy vehicle safety initiatives, small transport industry operators, infrastructure investment and road user charging.

“There has been a reduction in road trauma within the heavy vehicle sector, but the overall road toll is increasing and we need a co-ordinated national approach,” Mr Chester said.

“I agreed to work closely with the ATA to improve safety for its members and other road users.”

The Australian Government also has a range of strategies to improve the productivity and safety of heavy vehicles, Mr Chester said.

“This includes increased funding to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator, and record investment in infrastructure through the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Programme, Bridges Renewal Programme and the National Highway Upgrade Programme,” he said.

“Additional federal funding is only one part of the solution, and the Federal Government is committed to working closely with trucking operators to implement other measures to ensure freight can arrive at its destination on time and truck drivers arrive home safely.”

Australian Trucking Association Chair Noelene Watson said road safety initiatives and infrastructure upgrades are a priority for the industry.

“The ATA recognises a number of initiatives the Australian Government has introduced to improve outcomes for the heavy vehicle industry. This includes the abolition of the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal, which caused significant hardship to smaller trucking operators, and re-investing that money into the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator,” Mrs Watson said.

“Our industry's focus remains on improving road safety, particularly through better educating light vehicle road users on how to share the road safely with heavy vehicles.

“Continued infrastructure upgrades, particularly along the Hume Highway, and road user charges remain another focus for our industry, and we look forward to working with the Commonwealth, states and territories with regard to this reform.

“The ATA also briefed Mr Chester on our plan for mandatory 30 day payment terms for small trucking businesses, which we propose would be delivered through a mandatory industry code under the Competition and Consumer Act.”

The delegation meeting coincided with TruckWeek 2016, a week of events from 29 August-4 September 2016 that trucking businesses and ATA member associations will use to promote road safety and the dedication of their staff.

Mr Chris Melham, Australian Trucking Association CEO; Philip Gordon, President Australian Furniture Removers Association and General Manager Conroy Removals; Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester MP; Mr Andrew Garrety Secretary/Treasury Australian Trucking Association; Mrs Noelene Watson, Chair Australian Trucking Association; and Kevin Keenan, President, Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association.

Mr Chris Melham, Australian Trucking Association CEO; Philip Gordon, President Australian Furniture Removers Association and General Manager Conroy Removals; Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester MP; Mr Andrew Garrety Secretary/Treasury Australian Trucking Association; Mrs Noelene Watson, Chair Australian Trucking Association; and Kevin Keenan, President, Australian Livestock and Rural Transporters Association.